Charlotte NC public schools adopt Anti Bullying Policy

Our public school system in Charlotte NC has been wrestling for months now on whether or not to adopt an "Anti Bullying Policy". This sounds like a no-brainer, right? Wrong. Guess who was against it. That's right, the republicans.

Christian conservatives urged the board not to, voicing concerns that the policy will promote homosexuality.

But after more than two hours of impassioned arguments from more than 40 speakers, the board approved the policy on a 6-3 vote. Kaye McGarry, Ken Gjertsen and Larry Gavreau opposed it.

McGarry, Gjertsen and Gavreau are all republicans.
Here's the portion of the policy that offended these 3 assholes:

It is the policy of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education to maintain learning environments that are free from harassment or bullying. This freedom includes ...freedom from harassment or bullying based on an individual's real or perceived race, color, sex, religion, creed, political belief, age, national origin, linguistic or language differences, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, socioeconomic status, height, weight, physical characteristics, marital status, parental status, or physical, mental, or sensory disability. ...

It shall be a violation of this policy for any student, teacher, administrator, other school personnel, or any third party ... to harass or bully any person based upon any differences of status including, but not limited to, those listed above. It shall also be a violation of this policy for any teacher, administrator or other school personnel to tolerate such harassment or bullying. ...

The reupublicans of course objected to the language that proteced gays and lesbians. Apparently because the republicans want their kids to still be able to harrass and beat up gays and lesbians.

Another idiotic republican supporter, grasping at straws, put up this asinine last minute argument against the policy:

But the policy's specific protection of sexual orientation and "gender identity/expression" drew opposition from critics like Ante Pavkovic, who quoted the Bible and questioned what teachers will tell children about gender identity.

"If a boy walks around saying he's a girl, is he going to be allowed to go into the girls bathroom?" he asked during a public hearing before the vote. "We can't countenance this. This is foolishness."

That's right, this lunatic now believes that since this policy has been adopted, we now have to allow boys to use the girls bathrooms if they choose.

Here's why the policy is needed:

Sharon Walker, a counselor at Providence High, said that in a student survey of the campus earlier this year, more than 80 percent of respondents said they heard anti-gay slurs several times a day.

"One of the biggest concerns I hear from students is that the anti-gay bullying is happening right in front of teachers," she said. The teachers "say they are afraid of being accused of promoting a pro-gay agenda if they intervene."

Eighty percent of respondents to that survey heard anti gay comments several times per day. Actually sounds low to me. These students obviously aren't paying attention. And neither is Counselor Walker. Good loving teachers are not afraid of being accused of promoting a pro-gay agenda if they stop bullies. Good loving teachers will stop a bully every time.

Charlotte needs this policy because too many of our teachers are republicans and they have been allowing gays and lesbians to be the victims of bullies. That's the truth of it.

I'm glad the policy has finally, after months and months, been adopted.

To hell with the republicans and their hateful anti gay agenda.

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Comments

Finally! Charlotte School Board has a spine!

This is a great first step. Bullying goes on in so many ways that go undetected as well. Thank you for writing this.....and your assessment of the three Republicans on the board is spot on.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

It's a matter of safety

The safety of our children should always be paramount to any other agenda anyone may have. How any person could vote against this ban or speak out against this ban on bullying is beyond the pale. Republicans should be ashamed of themselves.

Congratulations Charlotte!

I noticed this piece of good news from Mecklenburg County while I was still in Washington yesterday.

CMS's action can help us successfully advocate for this change at the state level as well.

As lieutenant governor, I will be a member of the State Board of Education, and will press there for comprehensive anti-bullying policies on a statewide basis.

Perhaps we can even help more of the Republicans see the light. ;-)

Dan Besse
Democrat for Lieutenant Governor
www.danbesse2008.org

Dan Besse

If I recall correctly, Rep. Tricia Cotham tried

to get antibullying legislation passed into law during the last session of the GA. She took a lot of heat from the neanderthals on the right over it.

Person County Democrats

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

It passed the House.

The key vote was over whether to strip out the language specifically barring bullying on the basis of factors including actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identify. A motion by Republican Rep. Skip Stam to delete that language failed by one vote--with Speaker Joe Hackney voting no.

The Senate stripped that language in its version and sent it back to the House in watered-down form, but the House has not concurred, so the issue is still alive for the short session in May.

Dan Besse
Democrat for Lieutenant Governor
www.danbesse2008.org

Dan Besse

This is past-due in Charlotte

thanks for bringing this over to BlueNC md, because everyone in the Old North State needs to see that this exists and needs to be addressed!

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

thanks for posting

this is really good news. I heard McGarry on Charlotte talks the other day and she was really ticking me off. The fact that School Board members would actually oppose a resolution to protect students just boggles the mind!

Anti-bullying

Great for CMS!!!! It's about time someone stood up for the kids that are constantly being harassed/bullied. I live in Cabarrus County and this is a very serious problem in the schools. My son has been harassed since middle school, but the school always blames him.
I plan on taking this to the board and see what happens with it there.
Again - great job for getting this policy passed!

You just know the Jesse Helms throwbacks are all

grinding their teeth in earnest over this one.

Our state is becoming more and more progressive by the day! YES!

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

Interesting quote.

In AP article appearing on NYT website this afternoon:

"North Carolina's primary is also May 6, and Clinton officials expect Obama to win there because most of the state's Democratic voters are either black or very liberal. But they say she will compete there anyway to pick off delegates in congressional districts in the eastern and western parts of the state."

I think this is the first time I've actually heard North Carolina voters described as "very liberal" in any context!

Dan Besse
Democrat for Lieutenant Governor
www.danbesse2008.org

Dan Besse

Well, go us.

When I said the word progressive in my precinct meeting last night, I got some pretty steely stares. But I guess liberal is a-okay. I guess Hillary is just out to win friends and influence people (not).

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

I am single, and no kids

This bullying rule on the surface does not apply to me....A fly on the wall with an unbiased view. I respect a teacher. My God, you have to really love your job to stay a teacher. Why on earth would someone want to daily place them self in a position were at any time, a child could make a claim of misconduct against you and your beyond guilty. Where a parent will come into your classroom (your territory) and tell you your jacked up and are clueless and potentially threaten you if you do something or fail their child. Where it is your fault (in the eye's of the parent) that a child is not learning, yet the parent has never asked "Honey, what you got for homework today? Is it done? Let me see it.". All this for about $28-32,000 a year?

With that, took friends kid to soccer tryouts for my county youth league. Talked with two different parents about things. Because the age group was 5th/6th graders, some of the moms were discussing the middle school and how "my" little one will hate it there next year.

One told me her daughters story of being followed by a group of girls that wanted to hurt this girl. The girl did not realize she was a target. A teacher realized it and warned the girl NOT to go into the bathroom. The teacher did nothing to the group of girls that would have followed and harmed the one girl. It was racially motivated. Older group of kids on younger single girl. (only because of color of skin was this kid targeted)

What color? does it matter? no.

In this scenario, what should happen?
That gang of girls gone from school. Period. End of story until they can prove that their racial bigotry is gone and they can prove they will not terrorize others.

What should happen now? That teacher should lose their job. Why? That teacher empowered that gang of girls to continue to terrorize. That teacher handed the reigns of the school to the bullies.

Why did that teacher NOT do anything?
Because schools and school boards are not empowered to do anything about crap like this. To many parents scream and cry foul when their brat is identified as a problem. The parent is more worried about who will watch their kid if they are suspended. The school board will not suspend the kid because then the child will be unsupervised at an age where it is inappropriate for the child to be alone. Again, it is societies problem to watch after the bully and not the parents, but the parent is causing society to babysit their kid.

Schools are babysitting factories. Cut and dry, pure and simple. All the teachers hope to do is survive the day and hope none of the kids are hurt. If something is taught in the process of keeping em safe from each other, wow, a bonus day.

How many parents have said, "no teacher will touch my kid"? "My kids are not the problem, the teacher, school, administration, the other kids are the problem"? How many parents have said this IN FRONT OF THEIR KIDS? The parents have just given their kids the freedom to act as they wish.

How many parents are not part of the PTA? Does the PTA even exist anymore? How many parents have been inside the middle or high school and watched what goes on? Not enough.

I belief I have been inside of more schools and have spent more time in a class room helping teachers and students then many parents have for the 13 years their kids are going to school. I have been in the schools helping, fixing computers, teaching to the kids, talking one on one, working with kids from a grown man to little guy perspective. Being that proper male role model. Did this while I was in the Navy with the "adopt a school" program. I ran the program for my ship.

If I was in the school, I would be placing the blame of most of the problems firmly were it belongs. On the parents and guardians of the kids.

Anyone that says the problem is not in the home is kidding them selfs.

It takes two to fight. But it also takes a system to reward and protect the one that walks away. One wants to fight, one does not. If the school system cannot protect the one that wants to walk away, he will be forced to fight. That is were our schools are now.

It takes the community as a whole to stand up to bullies. It takes involvement by the parents, ALL you parents to get this bullying crap under control.

Yes, I am admonishing every parent that will not get off their butts and get into the school system and be a part of correcting the problem.

I am admonishing every county commissioner board that will not go after bullies and what is fostering bullies. Your community is fostering bullies.

Make our schools a place to learn. That is what our teachers are suppose to be doing. TEACHING. Teaching first, keeping kids safe, second.

If the kid is a bully, he is gone from the school. No if ands or butts. Out the dam door. I do not care about some stupid ridicules law that says no child left behind. Let mom and dad babysit the kid. Have the truancy system of the school board check up on these kids and the families to insure the kid is not being bullied at home. Yes, a bully learns to be a bully AT HOME. So protect that bully from his family if need be.

Thats why I say it will be tough. But dam it, do it. the cycle must be broken.

A simple plan, but will require commitment by the community to implement. How many who are running for school board have the guts to enforce the "no bullying" rules? My county school handbook has a no bullying clause already.......Is the school board willing to protect the kids?

If you are a parent that watches out for your kids, sees what they are doing, works with the teacher, gets your child the supplies they need to learn, is active in the school I applaud you. Thank you for making your community good and making your schools safe for all kids.

ACT, for your kids sake, ACT.

Parmea,

I could find a lot of things to take issue with in your rant, but I'm not going to, because I agree with the essence of it: the entire community is responsible for its children.

The truly landmark thing about the Charlotte decision is the inclusion of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. No matter how an adult feels about those issues, a child should not be bullied. Period.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Bullies dont really care about

sexual orientation. Yes, they will use it as a targeting mechanism. A bully only needs something, anything, to attempt to bully. That kid is xxxxx, there is a target. I can impose my will on them. They only know strength and intimidation because that is what is inflicted upon them. Is that child abuse?

Should your child have to fear going to school because some parents in your community does not know how to parent? How do you fix this problem? This, to me, IS the root of bullying.

As a community, we cannot with good conscious deny any child the chance to learn. But when does the neglect of one require all, or many to have their chance of learning diminished? When do we give up on the bully because of the problems at home?

A bully without the bullying enabling factors at home will not stay a bully. The school systems are trying to do their part. The parents need to do theirs. Send the kid home. For the good of all the kids at the expense of one. We, as a community will not, nor cannot take a child away from a home because he is a bully, or shows bullying tendencies.

So the parents must take on the responsibility of being parents. I cannot do it for them. But I can hold the parents responsible for the actions of their kids because the parent IS responsible for the actions of their kids until they are deemed an adult.

Regardless of what people may want to think parents must take on the responsibility of their children. Parents cannot push that responsibility onto others.

Not everything is black and white,

there's a whole lot of gray when it comes to kids. For the most part, I would say you are right Par, parents or guardians must be involved and interested in their children's lives. That's not always possible. Everything is a choice, but if you don't know any better, if you've never had someone to guide you, you don't know what your choices are.

My humble and often wrong opinion is that we need to get to the root of the problem. Why don't kids know their numbers, abc's colors, etc. when they start school? Why are children having children? Why aren't families/communities/churches doing more to provide for single mothers or fathers? Right now, I think the answer is that every cent America has that could be used to solve many of these social problems is being thrown at Iraq.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

What is More Money Going to Do?

The USA already spends more money on public education than any other nation in the world, so how is throwing more money to an endless black hole of inefficiency going to improve education? The number one problem are the parents. Until parents get off of their collective asses and start getting involved in their children's education and stop viewing schools as a day care center to drop their kids off at while they go to work, no matter amount of money is going to fix education in this country.

Carolina Politics Online

Do you have stats for that, CPO?

The USA already spends more money on public education than any other nation in the world

Is it per capita? Or just en masse? Are you including state funded universities and colleges, government underwritten student loans? What are you talking about, exactly?

Before I start discussing something like this with you, I want to know where you're getting this information.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

How Will This Policy Be Any Different Than the Current?

Bullying is already against CMS policy and it hasn't been enforced in the past. What makes this updated policy a magic button? It's still the same administration and the same faculty that have turned a blind eye to it in the past. The people that were speaking at the school board meeting last night spoke as if today all will be right with the world because they have passed this policy. It is no different today than it was yesterday or one year ago.

Kids have put other kids in the hospital and the most that happens to them is a couple of days suspension. The school board needs to look up the meaning of the word expulsion and start using it.

Carolina Politics Online

It's not a magic button, but it gives

possibilities for enforcement through the court should (May all the gods who may be forbid) something happen to a child who is bullied because they are identified as "gay" or "queer".

And you bet your Saggy Gray Elephant Ass I would sue your school system if you had that specific language in your policy and my child was bullied to the point of damage for that (or any other reason) that I was unable to resolve through appropriate channels, or that school personnel should have resolved. In a heartbeat.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Hat tip to Matt Comer

I think this video sums up the need for this policy:

Micah 4:3:
... and they shall beat their swords into plowshares ... nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

Studies show that giving more money to

good schools makes them better. On the other hand, more money to bad schools doesn't make them good. Comparatively, children of parents with a higher education generally succeed in attaining as high or a higher education.

Again, not a black and white problem. Getting to the core of the problem is the key. How can poor and lower middle class families invest more time with their children?

Expulsion? Exactly how does that help? How about something more structured than kicking troubled kids out of school?

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

When the kids

have proven they will not change. expulsion should be utilized. Don't bring down all because we do not want to address the problem.

But still, a message has to be sent to the other kids that school is a safe place to be. Expulsion will get that message out. "ewwwww, billy got in trouble for picking on xxxxxx." yes, the kids talk. yes the kids will be happy when billy is not in the school. If billy comes back and is not a bully, he will eventually be accepted by his classmates. Kids do forgive especially if in an environment of safety and learning.

With expulsion, the truancy system must take a proactive role as well as potentially other social service activities for this child. If mom and dad do not realize JR is a problem, well now they do. NO further action required. Mom and dad discipline the kid and he goes back to school. show the kid his actions are not acceptable.

If mom and dad are the problem, then social services who are trained to deal with this kind of problem are working the problem for the kid, the parents and the community.

What I want is for kids to look forward to going to school. I do not want them to fear going to school.

Expulsion makes the schools

Expulsion makes the schools safe and allow the kids to learn. There are dozens of kids at CMS that have been caught bringing knives and firearms to school. There have been incidents of kids beating up other kids so badly they ended up in the hospital. How can you expect a child to be able to learn in an environment where their physical safety is threatened? Would you go to your place of employment every day if you didn't feel safe there? Of course not, yet there seems to be no problem with CMS expecting your kids to.

Carolina Politics Online

Excellent point

How can you expect a child to be able to learn in an environment where their physical safety is threatened? Would you go to your place of employment every day if you didn't feel safe there? Of course not, yet there seems to be no problem with CMS expecting your kids to.

Bravo! Bravo! Cheers! This should be a banner in every conference room were school policies are discussed.

This should be read right after opening any school board meeting.

Deeper motives explored...

The republicans of course objected to the language that proteced gays and lesbians. Apparently because the republicans want their kids to still be able to harrass and beat up gays and lesbians.

While I'm sure there are at least a few who would condone such violence against gays, the more likely motive behind wanting to remove this from the wording is the maintaining of fear. Which also meshes with their stated concerns about promoting homosexuality.

As long as these kids are kept in fear, they are much less likely to be open about their sexual preferences. Ergo, in the mind of a bible-thumping conservative, the problem stays "bottled up" like quarantining someone with a virus, and it cannot spread.

The actual violent acts seem to be the "worst" form/example of bullying. But in reality, the fear associated with the possibility of violence is much more devastating.

The fact that some (many?) people see this fear as a good thing is what turns my stomach.

Bingo

I don't know how many of you listened to the house floor debate on this issue, but Rep. Stam and other GOP were staunch opponents of language that would protect kids from being beaten up because of real or perceived sexual orientation. It is exactly this idea that it is appropriate for fear to be used to keep these kids in the closet. It's truly vile.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

Me thinks folks are missing the point here

Kids are getting beat up. If a kid gets beat up for any dam reason, that is a problem. Our schools are not safe.

This is not a gay/straight, black/white, anything vs anything. It is kids being terrorized and a scared to go to school. Cut out all the other crap and make the dam schools safe for kids to go to school.

School should be fun for ALL kids. Bullying effects ALL kids.

Gay rights, straight rights, Black rights, White rights, the list goes on, does not need to be addressed for bullying. When a kid is bullyied, their rights to an education are taken away. Address that problem.

Address kids going home to their bedrooms and thinking about not wanting to go back to school because of their fellow classmates intimidating them. Of the countless kids who are scared to go to school, who dread going to school or getting on the bus. Of the hand full who go home each day and look for a reason not to kill them selfs because school is so bad.

The act of bullying needs to be stopped. That is what our legislators need to key on. No excuse is justified for bullying, NONE. Do not put conditions in this, sexual orientation, race, age, sex. Bullying is bullying.

Bullying is not acceptable. Bullying is not wanted. Bullying will not be condoned. Bullying will be stopped. That is what the legislation should say.

If they cannot do that, fire the bastards.

Sorry Parmea

but appears you are missing the point here.....the sexual orientation language is crucial to this policy because without it supportive teachers won't intervene for fear of losing their jobs for being gay supportive. Conversely, the new rule will be a tool for bullied gay students and their parents to confront bigoted teachers that refuse to protect gay kids because of their personal prejudice. As a gay man I thought it was important to attend this hearing. I was there in support from 6 unti 10:30. The end result was well worth the wait. No one is saying this is a panacea. But it's certainly a progressive boost in the right direction.

Gay language really is not needed

regardless of the sexual orientation of either the bully or bullied.

The language of the law should protect the bullied.

The language of the law should encourage teachers to do the right thing and protect kids.

The language of the law should require the school board to act upon every reported or seen act of bullying.

The language should provide for penalties toward those in positions of authority who fail to protect kids, or fails to intervene before an act of bullying happens.

Kids are kids. Kids need to be protected. If the language of the law is written correctly, it will help gay kids as well as any other kid. If language is needed to protect gay kids, then the language of the law is flawed and not all kids are protected. There will be loop holes to enable the bully to flourish.

Yes, I do get it. I do not care that the bullied is gay. I care that the kid is bullied. I want a law that will hold the bully accountable for bullying. I want a law that requires the school and school board to act to correct the bully. I want a law that will not condone the act of bullying.

No caviates or conditions are required. The only definition the law should have is who is a bully and who is bullied. Bully is a kid who acts in such a way toward another kid that intimidates, scares, or harms either physically or emotionally. Bullied is a kid who is the target of a bully's actions. Those two definitions protect every kid. All other qualifiers are not needed to include gay. Gay kids are kids first.

I want a law that supports the teacher to take back control of the school room. I want a law that enables the school administration to protect the kids every where on the school campus.

I want a law that will determine why a bully is bullying. I suspect that the bully is bullying because he is bullied at home. I suspect that there is more to this then what is happening at school.

This law is not addressing the problem. This law will not hold accountable that which has taught the kid to bully. This law will not fix bullying.

Your gay kids you are wishing to protect will still be bullied because until the root of the problem of bullying is found and corrected, kids will be bullied. Because I feel that the root of the problem is the home and bigotry found at the home, bullying will continue.

Gays will just be a convenient target, just like jews, blacks, whites, hispanics, kids who wear glasses, fat kids, skinny kids, boys, girls, red headed kids......

If this law does not enable the teacher, school, school administration and school board to isolate the bully from the other kids or even expulsion, this law is pointless.

Empower the school system to take back control of our schools. If it will not do that, this law will cause more problems then it will correct.

The teachers should be kid supportive. If the law is written correctly, the bullied kid's (or gay bullied kid)family will be able to confront the teacher (or bigoted teacher) about why the teacher failed to act, report, and or protect the bullied kid. This is how the law should be written. The law should not have to figure out of mommy and daddy can watch the kid that is required to stay away from the school for any time period if that is what is best for the rest of the kids at school.

We are going to have to agree to disagree

Leaving gay inclusive language out only gives right wing teachers more ammunition to say "then don't be gay" when a gay student is getting picked on. This is North Carolina after all. There are a lot more prejudiced teachers in CMS than progressive ones. This rule does not elevate gay kids above any others. It simply guarantees their equal protection in writing. Of course it's only words. We will see how the enforcement goes when there are complaints. The proposal backed by the rightwing slate on the school board was just a ruse that would have excluded gay kids from by stripping them out of the verbiage and pushing a "christian" anti-gay environment. I am glad the board majority saw through it.